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Politics

Feds interview Harris' ex-campaign manager

By ANITA KUMAR
Published September 9, 2006


WASHINGTON - Federal investigators interviewed U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris' former campaign manager as part of an ongoing federal inquiry into her relationship with a convicted defense contractor.

Jim Dornan, who left Harris' Senate campaign in November, spoke to investigators from the FBI and the Defense Department in Washington for about 90 minutes Thursday.

The Justice and Defense departments are examining Harris' dealings with Mitchell Wade, who made illegal campaign contributions to Harris and later asked her to help secure $10-million in federal money for a company project.

They have subpoenaed records from Harris' campaign office and have interviewed at least three former staffers: senior campaign consultant Ed Rollins, congressional chief of staff Fred Asbell and Mona Tate Yost, a congressional aide who later went to work for Wade.

A fourth employee, Kara Borie, Harris' former congressional spokeswoman, was contacted by investigators last month but it is unclear whether she was interviewed.

Dornan declined to comment. The Justice Department has refused to acknowledge an investigation.

Harris maintains she is not a target of the investigation.

Wade, who pleaded guilty to bribing another member of Congress, and Harris shared at least two dinners - each costing about $3,000 - at a tony Georgetown restaurant.

Dornan was not working for Harris when she received the donations or requested the money for the project.

Harris of Longboat Key defeated three political newcomers Tuesday to cinch the Republican nomination for the Senate. She faces Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in November.

Harris' campaign has faced a host of problems in recent months including enormous staff turnover.

Anita Kumar can be reached at 202 463-0576 or akumar@sptimes.com.

[Last modified September 9, 2006, 05:49:25]


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